Bahubali 2 &the Rest: Bollywood’s H1 Box-Office Review

07 Jul,2017

 

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

The first half of 2017 has ended. It has been an unusual half-year for Bollywood at the box-office. It is the period in which the industry got its biggest “Hindi” film till date. Bahubali 2’s Hindi version became the first film in the Hindi language to cross the Rs 400 crore nett mark at the domestic box-office. And it didn’t stop at that. It went further and crossed Rs 500 crore too. The film will end its run at staggering 36% higher than the earlier record holder Dangal (Rs 375 cr). And this is just the Hindi version of what technically is a Telugu film.

 

Should Bahubali 2’s box-office be counted as a part of “Bollywood”? How the year has gone so far hinges on this judgment call. The table below shows the H1 (Jan-Jun releases) box office business of Hindi films in the domestic market since 2013.

 

Year

H1 Box Office (Rs Cr)

2013

1,115

2014

1,095

2015

1,015

2016

1,020

2017 (with Bahubali 2 – Hindi)

1,450

2017 (without Bahubali 2 – Hindi)

940

 

As can be seen, the H1 business has not grown over the 2013-16 period, despite increasing ticket prices. In fact, there has been a de-growth of about 10% in this period. If we don’t count Bahubali, this year has seen a further de-growth of 8%.

 

Bahubali 2 (Hindi) accounts for 35% of the H1 box-office alone. The Hindi film industry will like to own the film as one of its very own. After all, India has a penchant for staking their claim over all things it has any remote connection to, and Bollywood should be no different. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that a Telugu film is the potential face-saver for the industry in what otherwise is a poor year so far. A poor year so far despite the presence of big Salman Khan and ShahRukh Khan films in this period. These stars normally hit the theatres in H2 with their releases.

 

Tubelight has been a shocker to the industry, and many other films including Raees have underperformed. There’s very little to show by the way of genuine success, barring Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Hindi Medium. Besides Bahubali 2, of course.

 

The industry opposed the GST slabs (28% and 18% for tickets priced above and below Rs100 respectively) in some statements a few weeks ago. But these slabs are significantly better than the prevailing Entertainment Tax rates, which varied by states, but averaged to 39% for a typical Hindi film. An 11 percentage-points drop in tax is definitely a positive news.

 

But what the Tamil Nadu government has done could set a dangerous precedent for other states. They have levied a local state-level tax of 30%, over and above the GST. Is it even allowed? Theoretically, all states could do this for all goods and services. Or is cinema the convenient scapegoat here?

 

This uncertainty looms large, even as TN theatres go on strike. It may be time for the central government to come in and clarify its position, or at least issue an advisory. Otherwise, we may see an extended period of stand-off in many states – the last thing Bollywood needs coming out of an H1 that Bahubali 2 salvaged for it.

 

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One response to “Bahubali 2 &the Rest: Bollywood’s H1 Box-Office Review”

  1. Mathan says:

    Baahubali remembered 4ever….Jai Mahismatiii…

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